Fiction > Harvard Classics > Ben Jonson > The Alchemist
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Ben Jonson (1572–1637).  The Alchemist.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act V
 
Scene III
 
 
SURLY, MAMMON, LOVEWIT, FACE, Neighbours 1

  SUR.  No, sir, he was a great physician. This,
It was no bawdy-house, but a mere chancel!
You knew the lord and his sister.
  MAM.        Nay, good Surly.——        4
  SUR.  The happy word, BE RICH——
  MAM.        Play not the tyrant.——
  SUR.  Should be today pronounc’d to all your friends.
And where be your andirons now? And your brass pots,        8
That should have been golden flagons, and great wedges?
  MAM.  Let me but breathe. What, they have shut their doors,
Methinks!  He and SURLY knock.
  SUR.        Ay, now ’tis holiday with them.        12
  MAM.        Rogues,
Cozenens, impostors, bawds!
  FACE.        What mean you, sir?
  MAM.  To enter if we can.        16
  FACE.        Another man’s house!
Here is the owner, sir; turn you to him,
And speak your business.
  MAM.        Are you, sir, the owner?        20
  LOVE.  Yes, sir.
  MAM.        And are those knaves within your cheaters!
  LOVE.  What knaves, what cheaters?
  MAM.        Subtle and his Lungs        24
  FACE.  The gentleman is distracted, sir! No lungs
Nor lights ha’ been seen here these weeks, sir,.
Within these doors, upon my word.
  SUR.        Your word,        28
Groom arrogant!
  FACE.        Yes, sir, I am the housekeeper,
And know the keys have not been out o’ my hands.
  SUR.  This is a new Face.        32
  FACE.        You do mistake the house, sir:
What sign was’t at?
  SUR.        You rascal! This is one
Of the confederacy. Come, let’s get officers,        36
And force the door.
  LOVE.        Pray you stay, gentlemen.
  SUR.  No, sir, we’ll come with warrant.
  MAM.        Ay, and then        40
We shall ha’ your doors open.  [Exeunt MAM. and SUR.]
  LOVE.        What means this?
  FACE.  I cannot tell, sir.
  1 NEI.        These are two o’ the gallants        44
That we do think we saw.
  FACE.        Two o’ the fools!
Your talk as idly as they. Good faith, sir,
I think the moon has craz’d ’em all.—[Aside.]  O me,        48
 
[Enter KASTRIL]

The angry boy come too! He’ll make a noise,
And ne’er away till he have betray’d us all.
  KAS.  (knocking.)  What rogues, bawds, slaves, you’ll open the door, anon!
Punk, cockatrice, my suster! By this light        52
I’ll fetch the marshal to you.
  FACE.        Who would you speak with, sir?
  KAS.  The bawdy doctor, and thee cozening captain,
And puss my suster.        56
  LOVE.        This is something, sure.
  FACE.  Upon my trust, the doors were never open, sir.
  KAS.  I have heard all their tricks told me twice over,
By the fat knight and the lean gentleman.        60
  LOVE.  Here comes another.
 
[Enter ANANIAS and TRIBULATION]

  FACE.        Ananias too!
And his pastor!
  TRI.  (beating at the door.)  The doors are shut against us.        64
  ANA.  Come forth, you seed of sulphur, sons of fire!
Your stench it is broke forth; abomination
Is in the house.
  KAS.        Ay, my suster’s there.        68
  ANA.        The place,
It is become a cage of unclean birds.
  KAS.  Yes, I will fetch the scavenger, and the constable.
  TRI.  You shall do well.        72
  ANA.        We’ll join to weed them out.
  KAS.  You will not come then, punk devise, 2 my suster!
  ANA.  Call her not sister; she’s a harlot verily.
  KAS.  I’ll raise the street.        76
  LOVE.        Good gentlemen, a word.
  ANA.  Satan avoid, and hinder not our zeal!  [Exeunt ANA., TRIB., and KAST.]
  LOVE.  The world’s turned Bethlem.
  FACE.        These are all broke loose,        80
Out of St. Katherine’s, where they use to keep
The better sort of mad-folks.
  1 NEI.        All these persons
We saw go in and out here.        84
  2 NEI.        Yes, indeed, sir.
  3 NEI.  These were the parties.
  FACE.        Peace, you drunkards! Sir,
I wonder at it. Please you to give me leave        88
To touch the door; I’ll try an the lock be chang’d.
  LOVE.  It mazes me!
  FACE.  [Goes to the door.]  Good faith, sir, I believe
There’s no such thing: ’tis all deceptio visus, 3        92
[Aside.]  Would I could get him away.
  DAP.  [Within.]  Master captain! Master doctor!
  LOVE.  Who’s that?
  FACE.  [Aside.]  Our clerk within, that I forgot!—I know not, sir.        96
  DAP.  [Within.]  For God’s sake, when will her grace be at leisure?
  FACE.  Ha!
Illusions, some spirit o’ the air—[Aside.]  His gag is melted,
And now he sets out the throat.        100
  DAP.        [Within.]  I am almost stifled——
  FACE.  [Aside.]  Would you were together.
  LOVE.        ’Tis in the house.
Ha! list.        104
  FACE.  Believe it, sir, i’ the air.
  LOVE.  Peace, you.
  DAP.  [Within.]  Mine aunt’s grace does not use me well.
  SUB.        [Within.]  You fool,        108
Peace, you’ll mar all.
  FACE.  [Speaks through the keyhole, while LOVEWIT advances to the door unobserved.]  Or you will else, you rogue.
  LOVE.  O, is it so? Then you converse with spirits!—
Come, sir. No more of your tricks, good Jeremy.        112
The truth, the shortest way.
  FACE.        Dismiss this rabble, sir.—
[Aside.]  What shall I do? I am catch’d.
  LOVE.        Good neighbours,        116
I thank you all. You may depart.  [Exeunt Neighbours.]—Come, sir,
You know that I am an indulgent master;
And therefore conceal nothing. What’s your medicine,
To draw so many several sorts of wild fowl?        120
  FACE.  Sir, you were wont to affect mirth and wit—
But here’s no place to talk on’t i’ the street.
Give me but leave to make the best of my fortune,
And only pardon me thi’ abuse of your house:        124
It’s all I beg. I’ll help you to a widow,
In recompense, that you shall give me thanks for,
Will make you seven years younger, and a rich one.
’Tis but your putting on a Spanish cloak:        128
I have her within. You need not fear the house;
It was not visited.
  LOVE.        But by me, who came
Sooner than you expected.        132
  FACE.        It is true, sir.
’Pray you forgive me.
  LOVE.        Well: let’s see your widow.  [Exeunt.]
 
Note 1. The same. [back]
Note 2. Perfect harlot. [back]
Note 3. Perfect harlot. [back]
 

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